On a Thursday evening this February, a group of ten women gathered in Live & Learn’s courtyard to celebrate their completion of the Childhood Development Associate Training Program. The women were cheered by their parents, their spouses, their children, and the Live & Learn community. Then, the following morning, these ten women went right back to work at Immanual Care for Children.

Ensuring childcare facilities have qualified, well-trained staff brings long-term benefits to the children. In fact, it can be a significant predictor of those children’s success in high school (https://www.naeyc.org/resources/blog/ece-role-closing-achievement-gap).

What is a CDA Certification?

A Childhood Development Associate Certification is a nationally recognized credential based on competency standards in Early Childhood Education. A CDA Certification attests to a childcare worker’s understanding of children’s developmental stages, experience putting that understanding into practice in the classroom, and well-developed skills in nurturing a young child’s emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development.

Many child care facilities in the Phoenix-metro area lack trained staff, and many Live & Learn women desire a career in Early Childhood Education. The schedule allows them to be off work when their children are out of school; employment demand is high; plus, there is ample opportunity to pursue further education and career advancement – with support from Live & Learn.

Women Like Natalie

Natalie, a single mother of six, was one of the women to complete Live & Learn’s CDA Program this February. After struggling with homelessness, straining to get by on government assistance, and worrying about how her family would get by, Natalie found Live & Learn.

While in Live & Learn’s CDA Training Program, Natalie worked full-time at Immanual Care for Children in Phoenix. She attended CDA training one evening a week, studied after her children went to bed, and practiced her new skills every day at work. Early on, Natalie became a leader among the women in the CDA Program, helping and encouraging other women to keep work harder, study more, keep going.

With her CDA Certification, Natalie will earn a raise and start getting benefits at her current position. She is already enrolled in community college to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.

What’s Next for These Women

A CDA Certification will earn all of these women pay raises and benefits from Immanuel Care for Children, where they work as childcare providers. As Live & Learn clients, however, their journey does not stop here. They will continue to receive ongoing coaching and mentoring, financial literacy education, and life-skills development, and they will transition to a Maricopa Community College to pursue Associate Degrees in Early Childhood Education.

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